Track Tested: 2009 Ford Escape XLT 2.5


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Ford says the four-cylinder Escape delivers best-in-class fuel economy. We'll have to take the company's word on that one as this test is all about track numbers. Meaningless you say? Not completely. Any SUV can deliver decent mileage with a small enough engine; the trick is balancing usable power with everyday efficiency.

Judging from the numbers, the Escape does a pretty good job of maintaining that balance. It surprised our test driver with its off the line punch and pulled out a respectable 0-to-60mph time. Braking wasn't a strong point, however, so the Escape has some work to do in that area. An overly intrusive stability control system hindered its handling numbers, but this is nothing new for this segment. 

For more details, see the full results after the jump.

Vehicle: 2009 Ford Escape XLT 2.5 FWD
Odometer: 3447
Date: 12/02/08
Driver: Josh Jacquot

Price: $24,970

Specifications:
Drive Type:    Front-wheel drive
Transmission Type:    6-speed automatic
Engine Type:    Inline-4
Displacement (cc / cu-in): 2488cc (152cu-in)
Redline (rpm): N/A
Horsepower (hp @ rpm):    171 @ 6,000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm):    171 @ 4,500
Brake Type (front):    Ventilated disc
Brake Type (rear):    Drum
Steering System:    Electric speed-proportional power steering
Suspension Type (front):    MacPherson strut
Suspension Type (rear):    multi-link
Tire Size (front):    P235/70R16
Tire Size (rear):    P235/70R16
Tire Brand:    Michelin
Tire Model:    Latitude Tour
Tire Type:    All-season
Wheel Size:    16x7 front - 16x7 rear
Wheel Material (front/rear):    Alloy
As tested Curb Weight (lb):    3,378

Test Results:
0 - 30 (sec):    3.3
0 - 45 (sec):    6.0
0 - 60 (sec):    9.8
0 - 75 (sec):    14.9
1/4 Mile (sec @ mph):    17.2 @ 80.1
0-60 with 1-ft Rollout (sec):    9.5
30 - 0 (ft):    35
60 - 0 (ft):    143
Braking Rating:    Poor
Slalom (mph):    57.5
Skid Pad Lateral acceleration (g):   0.70
Handling Rating:    Poor
Db @ Idle:    46.0
Db @ Full Throttle:   77.6
Db @ 70 mph Cruise:    70.2

Acceleration Comments:    Just a hint of wheelspin. Feels remarkably quick for a 4-cylinder SUV. Shifts are clumsy and harsh. Engine sounds almost sporty, but mostly just loud.

Braking Comments:    Lots of dive and a tendency to pull right. Also, the ABS cycles slowly as can feel the tires skid and hop as the vehicle comes to a stop. Noisy and not very confidence-inspiring despite remaining consistent.

Handling Comments:    (Skid pad) Very low limits thanks to stability control which defeats the throttle here. Feels soft, not much confidence. (Slalom) Feels as tall, soft and awkward as it looks. Stability control limits are low. Bounces off bump stops between cones. Feels like it could actually roll if not for the stability control.

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